Ever since Toby (Chris Sullivan) was introduced on This Is Us (Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV), I’ve had mixed feelings about him. On one hand the guy is obviously head over heels for Kate and would do anything to make her happy. On the other hand his grand gestures and pushy attitude can, at times, be a little too much. After all, Kate is her own person and she doesn’t need a boyfriend telling her what do to.
Slowly but surely though, Toby has grown on me — and hopefully other viewers too. Sure, he still pushes Kate to do things like have separate bachelor parties in Vegas, but if you step back and take a harder look at the situations in which Toby does the pushing it’s always a moment in time when Kate needs a push. For example she couldn’t live in Kevin’s shadow forever, and if she wanted to sing then why shouldn’t she sing? Toby was there to let her know that she’d always have a number one fan in him, and that she could be destined for greatness too.
Oh, and as for the bachelor parties? Well Toby’s right — it is weird that those two are so co-dependant and that they don’t have their own friends. So if Kate had to hang out with Beth for the night and Toby got to know Randall and Kevin a little better, what’s the problem? It’s probably a lot healthier for them both in the long run.
Well as it turns out the problem in Tuesday’s episode, at least on Toby’s side, was with his future brothers-in-law. While Kate had Madison to plan her bachelorette (and throw amazing nicknames like Toblerone, Tobe Bryant and Toby Dick around), Toby had no one else who was really close to him to be there. That included his own brother, who wouldn’t give him the time of day. So when Toby wanted to take the opportunity to bond with Kate’s brothers and they had other things on their minds, it really made me feel for the guy.
A newly sober Kevin was always going to have a hard time in a party place like Vegas, but finding out that his major scene partner was dropped from the Ron Howard movie while he was there was an unexpected (and heart-breaking) twist. But for him to bail on the festivities was probably the least productive thing he could have done. Perhaps he didn’t want to drag Toby and “his friends” down, but really he made the night all about him instead of his brother and that’s just a classic and selfish Kevin move, man.
Randall’s own disposition was also understandable given his attachment to Deja and his concern over her well-being, but in that moment there really was nothing he could have done for his one-time foster daughter. As Beth pointed out, Deja is no longer a part of their family, and things are out of their hands. So why couldn’t he put that aside for one night and let Toby have his moment? The dude has been nothing but present for their sister through some pretty rough times, and they should have taken a moment to acknowledge that. Seriously — Tobes didn’t even get a toast at dinner. Kevin went on about Randall convincing strippers to go back to school at his own bachelor party instead. Now how’s that for feeling like shark chum?
Thankfully, it just took a little speech from Kate for Randall (and subsequently Kevin) to wise up to the fact that Toby really only cared about bonding with them… and that he had spent three grand on flying his other “friends” to Sin City only to impress them. And so Kevin and Randall finally rejoined the party in progress, kidnapping Toby for a little boys time in Old Vegas and finally accepting him into the clan.
If you ask me, it’s about time. Because until the Pearsons truly accept Toby as one of the family, how are we as viewers supposed to accept him? Well now, hopefully, we can, and that will mean some more comedic relief a la Chris Sullivan in our very near futures. And who doesn’t love that?
Other points of consideration:
- You knew something was wrong with Deja when she kept pausing during her phone call with Randall, but the fact that she’s living in her car is heartbreaking. It looks like next week’s Deja-centric episode will answer all of our questions about that particular situation, and you can bet we’ll be stocking up on the tissues.
- Beth and Kate need more scenes together. While the candy bit at the hotel after the blowup was cute, I’d pay money to see the two of them have an actual wild night on the town together.
- I’m not down with “Randy” either, but “Toblerone” is my new favourite nickname.
- This week’s flashbacks of Jack and Rebecca’s anniversaries were a sweet little throwback to happier times. Jack obviously instilled a certain amount of pressure in his children to get the “grand gestures” right, and it seems to be paying off in the present day.
- Why didn’t Kevin go to chef school when football fell through?
- After five really heavy episodes of this show, it was nice to showcase some lighter moments this week. Here’s hoping that tone carries into the finale in a couple of weeks, because we’ve had just about all the emotional turmoil we can take for this season.